To discuss the updated report format to be used in 2015/2016 for performance monitoring against the Council’s key priorities. (15 minutes)
The Committee considered a report on Agenda pages 23 to 41 which set out a draft updated format for performance monitoring against the Council’s key priorities. This format was to be introduced from the 2015/2016 financial year.
Julie Holland, Service Manager Business Improvement, introduced the report and commented that feedback from the Committee had been taken into account in designing the revised format which had also been thoroughly considered by the Council’s Extended Corporate Leadership Team.
Members were reminded of the reasons why it had been decided that the current reporting format needed to change.
· It was not easy to see an overview of performance, and how the reported indicators linked with the Council’s vision and priorities;
· Linked with the point above, there was a lot of information and data making it difficult to interpret;
· Timeliness is an issue;
· It is time consuming to produce the report; and
· The format was different from the standard model of a balanced scorecard and as such the naming convention could lead to confusion.
A key objective in the design of the new format was to create a document that focused on the Council’s priorities and underpinning principles, including the Council’s major projects. Individual service areas had determined the actual indicators to be included within the document which had been separated into a number of headline areas. The Committee was informed that the final document would include icons to show the direction of travel of a performance indicator and the Red, Amber and Green, (RAG) icon would also be represented in order for the reader to able to identify key information quickly.
The proposed revised format of the proposed document was acknowledged by the Committee.
Members of the Committee expressed serious concern regarding the proposed 2015/2016 timetable for the consideration of the report by the Committee. It was noted that the first quarter report was not due to be considered by the Committee until November 2015, some five months after the close of that quarter which reduced the Committee’s ability to effectively hold the Executive to account for the Council’s performance. It was felt that in order to be meaningful, the data had to be up to date and concern was also expressed regarding the delay in the Executive considering the information.
Julie Holland acknowledged that there were delays because of the meeting schedule and outlined the process by which the reports were considered by the Council’s Corporate Leadership Team, (CLT) prior to consideration by the Executive and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee. Under the process that was followed, performance management reports could not be released to the Committee until they had been considered by the Executive at the Executive Briefing meeting.
It was highlighted to the Committee that below the high level of the new Balanced Scorecard services would have their own regularly produced and more detailed performance management information and there would be arrangements in place for monitoring this information, both within the service areas and between the relevant Director and Executive Member.
Members of the Committee felt that in setting the dates of the Committee in 2016/2017 it would be necessary to give greater priority to the reporting cycle for the Balanced Scorecard in order to minimise the period between release and consideration by the Committee. Kevin Jacob agreed to look at this, but suggested that a way to minimise the delays for the next municipal year would be to circulate the Balanced Scorecard report to the Committee outside of a formal meeting as soon as possible after it had been considered by the Executive. In this way, Members could analyse the data and submit questions via him which could then be put to Officers and the response circulated back to the Committee prior to the formal consideration of the report at the meeting.
Shahid Younis commented that it was common for many organisations in the corporate world to have a central or online based reporting system from which data could be pulled on an up to date basis if not a real-time basis. If such a system existed it should be possible to allow access to it by Councillors. The Chairman suggested that he should consider submitting this as a scrutiny review topic for 2015/2016.
Julie Holland explained that information was provided to the Governance and Improvement Team by individual service areas using their own performance management systems. It was then collated and reported to CLT and Executive Briefing. Under this process it would not be possible to release the data prior to its consideration by CLT and the Executive.
1) That the updated format for performance monitoring against the Council’s key priorities be noted;
2) That Officers be asked to explore ways to minimise delays in the performance management reporting schedule as part of the process of setting future Committee dates;
3) That Officers be asked to explore the circulation of the performance management report as soon as possible after its consideration by the Executive at Executive Briefing.